Bianchi breaks Marussia's duck despite penalties

© F1 Pulse, 25 May 2014
© Marussia

Marussia finally opened its tally in Formula One after Jules Bianchi finished ninth at the Monaco Grand Prix even though he was slapped with as many as three penalties on Sunday.

Now in its fifth season, the team formerly known as Virgin Racing had not finished higher than 12th place – in the 2012 Brazilian and Singapore Grands Prix – but managed to score two points in Monte Carlo.

Marussia’s first points in its 83rd race, which includes its stint as Virgin Racing, gives the outfit the upper hand over immediate rivals Caterham in the battle for tenth place in the constructors’ championship. Currently Marussia is ninth, ahead of Sauber and Caterham.

“Clearly, in today's race, we benefited from some attrition but, throughout, we were running at a pace that allowed us to stay in position with the cars around us,” said team principal John Booth. “It is clear that we are now able to race with the back of the midfield pack.”

Bianchi, who too opened his tally in F1, crossed the finish line in eighth place but an additional five seconds was added to his overall time as a penalty for having served an earlier stop-go penalty during the safety car period, which is against the regulations.

That was the third penalty the Frenchman was handed on Sunday as he started the race from 21st and last on the grid after a five-place drop for an unscheduled gearbox change, losing two places from his qualifying result.

The second penalty was handed after he was found out of position on the starting grid, moments before the race started, which he served under the safety car period.

"The penalty situation was a cause for concern and the way in which we served this with Jules was the product of some unusual circumstances, but we understand and accept the decisions," Booth said. "Thankfully, the second penalty was not the determining factor that it could have been."

Bianchi’s teammate Max Chilton, meanwhile, finished last but continued his run of finishing all his races he has taken part in, which has now extended to 25.


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